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Valley of Fire... fascinating, incredible, surreal - yes, yes and yes - That's how one would easily describe it. It's very likely you have never seen a place quite like this and you'll never forget it once you do.
Hollywood has recognized this for years and some unique location shots have been done here for decades.
Films like Total Recall, Casino, In Cold Blood, Transformers, Star Trek: Generations, Breathless, Austin Powers, Stir Crazy, Best Friends and many other films have done scenes here. TV show set shots as well as countless car commercials are frequently done here also.
It’s that unique... and a must see out here in Vegas.
What's great about this park is you can drive it, not get out and still see stunning one of a kind Nature like few other places, but it will beckon you to get out and get up close and personal with it.
The ideal times of year are spring and fall but the park is open year round. In summer, early mornings are best since it does gets hot later in the day.
This is the oldest park in Nevada (1935) and it offers Hiking, Camping (RV and regular), Picnicking, Group Areas and sites for weddings as well.
Valley of Fire derives its name from the fiery looking nature of the sandstone landscape.
If you can plan your time and stay around long enough for when the sun starts to set, you’ll witness a little magic. You'll get to see the extra ‘fire’ of this valley.
The setting sun makes the coloring of the landscape come alive and seem to glow an even more fiery red, and it’s awesome.
During your stay here in Las Vegas, if there's only enough time for you to go to one place for one day, without hesitation I recommend Valley of Fire.
Immersed in these incredibly surreal lands, you'll experience one of Nature's most extraordinary creations.
It's one of those places no one regrets visiting ... and the kind you will always remember throughout your lifetime.
Whether with your phone or camera, be sure you have plenty of memory and juice to take the million pictures you'll end up taking of this place.
I'll be splitting up the things to see at Valley of Fire into 3 sections;
It's approximately 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas and ‘there are two paths you can go by’, to quote a great song.
The first route, which is all highway then a little stretch of two lane desert road directly to the park, takes about 5.5 hours total and I'll cover that route towards the end of this section. You'll enter and exit out the West side of the park.
If you give it 7 hours for your visit then the scenic route by way of East Lake Mead is the way you want to go.
When going this way, you’ll enter the east side of the park and exit the west side of the park, returning by way of the faster, less scenic route mentioned above.
The East Lake Mead route will give you great desert vistas and scenery, and in some spots you see the north parts of Lake Mead in the distance.
For this one, take I-15 and get off on East Lake Mead Blvd. This will take you through North and Northeast Las Vegas and then Lake Mead Blvd turns into SR 147/Lake Mead Blvd.
This route is through an older part of Vegas with its fair share of traffic lights and isn’t scenic whatsoever, but it’s the most direct route.
Going this way your scenery goes from 0 to a 6-7 once you're out of town, then to a 10 when you get to Valley of Fire.
You’ll be entering the Lake Mead Recreational Area so a fee is charged at that Entrance Station.
SR 147/E. Lake Mead will wind around, then down to North Shore Rd./SR 167... so called because of its proximity to the north shores of Lake Mead.
Turn left on North Shore and it will head east and then north to get to Valley of Fire Hwy.
Going this way will have you driving through quite a changing landscape of differently carved mountains, big and small washes, arroyos and wide desert vistas all along this rolling desert road.
Along the way you’ll encounter a place called Redstone. It has some of the same flaming rock formations as those you’ll see at Valley of Fire but Redstone is just a tiny sample.
You’ll be amazed being surrounded by so much of what's at Redstone once you get to the park. Redstone is a developed site and you can’t miss it. It will be on your right as you approach it.
You’ll also spot Lake Mead in the distance in a few places, one of which is Blue Point Spring. This is one of two easily accessed oasis springs on this route, with the other being Rogers Spring.
Both of these have paved parking which makes it easy for a quick visit to see a real oasis on your way up.
Once you reach Valley of Fire Highway, turn left and you’ll be coming in from the East side of the park.
Taking this scenic route will take you about 1.5 hours, allowing for a stop or two along the way, giving you 4 to 4.5 hrs for Valley of Fire as you enter from the east side, then about 50 minutes to get back via 1-15 once you exit the west side of the park.
If you prefer to just come here and don’t have, or want to spend the extra hour and a half it takes to enjoy the scenic route, you'll come up I-15 which travels faster since it's all highway. This route is really simple.
When coming up on I-15 , you'll drive past Nellis Air Force Base, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and then entering the Moapa Indian Reservation Area. Shortly after that, take exit 75 and that will be the beginning of Valley of Fire Highway, which takes you right to the park.
At this exit there's a Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza. You can load up with what you want at their convenience store, and there's a gas station out back.
From here you’ll travel a two lane road thru open desert about 18 miles and it leads you right into the West entrance of the park.
When done with your visit to the park, exit that same west side of the park to do the reverse route via I-15.
You may of heard the North Road called Mouse's Tank Road, or as another site had it, White Domes Road (which is actually at the end of this road) and on other sites it has no name at all.
Go figure ... but I ain't worrying about it because to me the solution to this little issue is so simple.
To me it only makes sense to call it the North Road because there is no other road going north from the Visitors Center, nor anywhere else in the park.
So ... I hereby do decree it to be called (ta-daa) 'the North Road'!
The mid-point in the park is where the North Road and Visitors Center will be found. This website will help you decide what you want to see most and how to best work out seeing those sites for the time you have available.
The sites right on Valley of Fire Highway, which runs through the entire park east-west (with the Visitors Center at its mid-point) are all easily accessible and don’t take much time at all to get to. You pretty much drive right up to most all of them.
It's quite different with the sites on the North Road.
On the North Road (which you connect to right at the Visitors Center) are some very different and pretty incredible places (first one is Mouse’s Tank)… but they take more time to visit since you have to hike in a little to see them, with the exception being Fire Canyon Road.
If you're wanting to see one or two of these places along the North Road, here's what I recommend.
Visit the Visitors Center first, ask about the time it normally takes to see the one you're interested in, decide which ones you'll visit, then take whatever time you have left for the easy-to-visit sites on either the east or west part of the park along Valley of Fire Hwy.
If you have questions, run it by the people at the Visitors Center and they can help you decide which sites would be best for you time-wise, then make your plans from there.
In order to avoid hunger pangs midway through your visit, eat before you visit or bring some food with you. Either way, I recommend bringing along a little cooler or similar.
If you eat before visiting, you'll still want to pack up some ice and some water. If you haven't, bring some sandwiches and snacks as well.
There's many spots that have shade and picnic tables for you to stop and eat at in the park, but there is no food available in the park itself. Although water is usually available at the Visitors Center, it's best to bring your own to be sure.
For last minute preps, you can either pick some up on your way up Lake Mead Blvd. if doing the scenic route, or the Moapa Travel Plaza when coming via the other route.
In the summer it gets seriously hot so bringing enough water is a must. That's another reason for wanting to bring a cooler. Ice up some extra water to keep in the car besides what you want to bring along with you to the sites.
There are a few other things that are good to know before traveling around in our deserts, so check out the desert areas recommendations before heading out to help keep you safe and enjoying your time out here.
You can print out the brochure, which has the same free map you'll get at the Visitors Center, plus get more info on the Park and its amenities when you visit the Valley of Fire website.